People Profile – Dr. Christine Petrin

Christine Petrin, MD, (PGY 4; Internal Medicine & Pediatrics)

Christine Petrin, MD, (PGY 4; Internal Medicine & Pediatrics) originally moved to DC to work on health policy, specifically related to health services delivery and improving access to care. She soon discovered, however, that she might be able to make a more tangible and immediate impact by becoming a physician. And that, as a physician, she’d still be able to advocate for the health policies most important to her.

“Watching my mentors have a broad impact on far-reaching federal policy while also maintaining the smaller, but even more impactful, individual connection with their patients led me to consider medicine for myself,” Dr. Petrin reflects.

Around the time that Dr. Petrin started her residency, firearms became the number one cause of death for children aged 1 to 17 in the United States, surpassing motor vehicles. It was through her residency, and after seeing painful and often preventable gun violence in the community and across the country, that Dr. Petrin would develop a passion for her current advocacy work: gun violence prevention.

“I have spent the last four years learning how to treat pediatric infectious disease and childhood cancers, but I had no training on how to counsel my patients and their families on safe firearm storage,” Dr. Petrin explains.

Seeking to address this need and to promote change, Dr. Petrin helped MedStar Health partner with Brady, the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention group, to develop a firearm safety and violence prevention curriculum for trainees.

In addition to the opportunity to make a difference with her advocacy work, Dr. Petrin loves that her specialty allows her to care for patients of any age, especially the families she’s been able to build relationships with over time. She also enjoys the transition of care from pediatrics to adult medicine.

“Being the bridge and point of coordination for both healthy and medically complex adolescents and young adults as they navigate that transition is a really rewarding and special part of our specialty,” she explains.

Soon, Dr. Petrin will return to New York City for her first job post-residency. As a lover of all things theater, she looks forward to taking advantage of the city’s theater scene and plans to see the New York City Ballet’s performance of Jewels soon.

As she moves on from MedStar Health GME, Dr. Petrin says her co-residents have been the key to her success, making residency a little more fun even when the days are tough. Her message to incoming residents and fellows to help get through those tough days: “Always plan a post-call brunch to celebrate after a string of night shifts.”